How do you treat severe asthma? What is Bronchial Thermoplasty?

Pulmonary & Sleep of Tampa Bay offers Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT), an outpatient procedure for treating severe asthma that delivers controlled, therapeutic radiofrequency energy to the airway wall, and can sharply reduce asthma attacks. This procedure is typically recommended for adult patients who suffer from severe, persistent asthma that does not respond to previous medical treatments. Clinical studies have shown that 79% of patients who underwent Bronchial Thermoplasty experienced a significant improvement in asthma-related symptoms and quality of life.

How it works:

  • The procedure is delivered by the Alair® System, which consists of an Alair® Catheter and Alair® Radiofrequency (RF) Controller
  • It is performed during a bronchoscopy, an examination of the lungs using an instrument called a bronchoscope, a tube with a camera on one end
  • The Alair® Catheter is inserted into the desired area of the airways via the bronchoscope
  • The Alair® Catheter expands the airway walls, and a pulmonologist starts the Alair® RF Controller, which transports low-power energy through the Alair® Catheter to the airway wall
  • The Alair® RF Controller sends temperature-controlled heat to the airway
  • Each transmittal is 10 seconds long
  • Three separate outpatient treatments are performed on three different areas of the lungs
  • Treatments are typically scheduled three weeks apart
  • Procedures are performed under moderate sedation or light anesthesia
  • Patients usually go home the same day

Who is eligible:

  • Sufferers of severe, persistent asthma who over the age of 18
  • Patients with asthma that is not well-controlled, even if they take inhaled corticosteroids and/or bronchodilators
  • Patients who take oral corticosteroids may be eligible

What can delay the procedure:

  • A current respiratory infection
  • An asthma attack or a dose change of corticosteroids in the past 14 days
  • A bleeding disorder
  • Inability to stop taking anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, aspirin, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications before the procedure

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